MANILA, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines is mulling to cut down the overseas deployment of Filipino construction workers by up to 90 percent to mitigate the domestic shortage of builders needed in the ongoing government's infrastructure projects, said a government official.
Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said on Thursday the Philippines needs up to one million skilled workers in the construction, architecture, and engineering fields until 2022 in the country as the government is aggressively implementing projects under the "Build Build Build" program, which aims to build roads, bridges, airports, seaports, and railways in the future.
The state planning agency National Economic Development Authority said 28 out of the 75 big-ticket projects under the government's massive "Build, Build, Build" program are scheduled to be completed by 2022.
"We really have an urgent need for construction workers, and this is the reason we have slowed down our deployment overseas to address the manpower shortage in the local construction industry," said Bello.
"In fact, we are looking at about 80 to 90 percent reduction," Bello said, adding that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has slowed down processing and deployment of construction workers since last year.
Millions of Filipinos work abroad each year and many overseas Filipino workers engage in the construction business.
Already, Bello noted that the construction industry has appealed to the Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines to temporarily stop deploying construction workers overseas because they are experiencing manpower shortage.
Bello also said that Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, whose task is managing and supervising the country's technical education and training, is now accelerating training and upgrading of skills of workers to address the problem of job and skills mismatch.